“IMAGINARY CLUB” Celebrates Off-White™ c/o Church’s New Capsule Collection

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Off-White™ c/o Church’s
George RileyPhotography by Tom Johnson. Courtesy of Off-White™ and Church's

Launched with a dynamic party in London, the third instalment of the Off-White™ c/o Church’s capsule collection reimagines the artisanal English shoes through the radical eyes of Virgil Abloh

Earlier this month during Frieze Art Fair, an event by Off-White™ and Church’s brought together an eclectic crowd to celebrate the latest fruits of a groundbreaking partnership. In London, home to a vibrant and storied fashion and culture scene, the two brands took over St John’s Smith Square, transforming the historical venue with an atmospheric, signature Off-White™ blue-hued light, and soundtracked by an evening of modern jazz. Titled the “IMAGINARY CLUB”, their third collaboration brought with it a new event format, following from their previous formats "IMAGINARY TV", "IMAGINARY FM" and "IMAGINARY DINNER", with guests like Letitia Wright and Jourdan Dunn in attendance and performances by Yussef Dayes, cktrl and George Riley.

The party was a meeting of minds that shared a forward-thinking ethos, with a vocation to create something revolutionary. Fusing the contemporary youth culture brand’s dreamlike aesthetic with Church’s masterful shoemaking prowess, the two labels first collaborated for Off-White™’s Autumn/Winter 22 show, and today, their third capsule collection of footwear launches, featuring two new, iconic styles: the Shannon Cut Lines and Burwood Foam

Off-White™, the contemporary luxury Italian label founded in 2013 by Virgil Abloh has proven itself as a playground for new ideas and ways of seeing, and its marvels transcend the boundaries of clothing; instead, the principles of reinvention and self-enlightenment reign. The Off-White™ Spring/Summer 2023 show presented last month assembled Virgil Abloh devotees far and wide, attracting stars like Naomi Campbell, Erykah Badu and Halle Bailey together to celebrate the legacy of a brand that continues to challenge the system and dares to dream. 

The history of Church’s can be traced back to Anthony Church, a master shoemaker who in 1617 began handcrafting shoes in Northampton, England. To this day, the label is steadfast in its commitment to producing the finest quality handmade shoes, utilising artisanal traditions of English shoemaking to provide their wearers with practicality and reliability, as well as a timeless style. 

The centuries-old traditions of Church’s and Off-White™’s radical approach to streetwear could have made the duo an unlikely pairing, but Church’s shoes have been translated through the sharply refined sartorial vocabulary formed by Virgil Abloh, made up of diagonal stripes, quotation marks and a penchant for deconstruction. The products of their collaborative design have now incited frenzy in a competitive footwear market.

The capsule’s two new unisex styles are a subversion of Church’s seminal designs. The Off-White™ c/o Church’s Shannon Cut Lines takes inspiration from the classic Shannon style – an all-purpose and robust Derby shoe with a generous rounded toe, expertly crafted from a single cut of leather. Cherry-picking the best of Church’s and channelling it through the Off-White™ lens, the new style features a distinctive hand-stitched dovetail patterning on the shoe’s polished black leather – reminiscent of a brogue’s key motif – along with quotation labelled shoelaces and Off-White’s trademark hangtag. 

The second style, the Burwood Foam, is an evolution of the reliable brogue, featuring a chunky, spliced rubber sole and eye-catching pink laces that web across the shoe’s upper part. With a thickened tongue and prominent bulk, the shoe’s proportions are maximised in a marriage of English tradition and the spirit of youth culture. Adorned with all the unmistakable Abloh-isms, the contemporary spin given to a classic shoe speaks to a freewheeling creativity and a cultivated, enduring legacy at the heart of this collaboration. 

The capsule collection launches in Off-White™ stores, Church’s stores, and online today.